When they’re not sun baking, Sun Bears are busy little bears. Referred to as the ‘rainforest doctors’, they spend their days dispersing seeds and protecting trees from pests.
But deforestation and illegal hunting of their paws and body parts, means they are under urgent threat.
In just the last 30 years, nearly half of the Malayan Sun Bear population in South East Asia has been wiped out. Add to this that very few people know about the plight of the Sun Bear, and you have a forgotten species on the verge of being forgotten forever.
The survival of the Sun Bear is also bigger than just this one species. Known as a ‘keystone’ species, other animals and the plants and trees in the forest itself rely on the Sun Bear for their survival.
When the Sun Bear tears open tree trunks to reach the honey inside, they create nesting sites for the native hornbills and flying squirrels.
When the Sun Bear digs for invertebrates on the rainforest floor, they aerate and mix rich and poor soil together, boosting the nutrient cycle.
The forest needs them just as much as they need the forest.
The Sun Bear also has a very low reproduction rate – typically a mother will only ever raise one cub in her lifetime. Given their tiny proportions, the cubs are considered exceptionally cute so they are highly sought after through illegal pet trading.
Each time a cub is stolen, a whole generation is lost.
The survival of the Sun Bear is under exponential threat – habitat lost combined with commercial hunting and pet trade make for a perfect storm.
We cannot let another species burn out.